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December 19, 2014 / 27 Kislev, 5775
 
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It’s My Opinion: Reflections On A New Year


Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, can be a time of optimism. The observances of the holiday are actually quite therapeutic. Engaging in prayer, charity and repentance clears one’s head, and sets us in a position to anticipate a clean slate. We hope for Hashem’s blessings for a good year.

 

            This period, however, can also be a time of apprehension, as we contemplate the unknown. No one knows what the future will bring. Life can contain unexpected twists and turns. Some of them can be quite disturbing.

 

            We all know that bad things sometimes happen to good people and good things happen to the bad. However, who is to say which of us are good or bad or if working through some dire problem will ultimately be in an individual’s best interest.

 

            Recently, visitors at the beautiful Jungle Island in Miami paid for a lovely day at the lush tropical attraction. They strolled happily through the park’s beautiful gardens, enjoyed the wildlife exhibits and watched the shows.

 

            They were in for a surprise. A 500-pound Bengal Tiger jumped the previously impenetrable high wall of his cage. Frenzied visitors ran in horror. Fortunately, no one was hurt, and they recaptured the giant cat.

 

            Yes, life is fragile and unpredictable and sometimes scary. How ironic that some emerge from dangerous war zones unscathed and yet a simple day at Jungle Island could turn so precarious. Go figure. That uncertainty makes life all the more precious. Jews are taught, “Ivdu es Hashem b’simchah – Serve G-d with happiness.” That plan, in reality, is the best that we can do.

 

I want to take this opportunity to wish my readers shanah tovah, a happy, healthy, sweet new year filled with much simchah.

About the Author: Shelley Benveniste is South Florida editor of The Jewish Press.


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